A sweeping novel of intrigue and identity, of love and legacy, as a young woman discovers that her own fate is irrevocably tied—for better or worse—to literature’s greatest star-crossed lovers.
Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.
This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever—a journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei. In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down and went on to inspire generations of poets and artists, the story reaching its pinnacle in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.
But six centuries have a way of catching up to the present, and Julie gradually begins to discover that here, in this ancient city, the past and present are hard to tell apart. The deeper she delves into the history of Romeo and Giulietta, and the closer she gets to the treasure they allegedly left behind, the greater the danger surrounding her—superstitions, ancient hostilities, and personal vendettas. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in the unforgettable blood feud, she begins to fear that the notorious curse—“A plague on both your houses!”—is still at work, and that she is destined to be its next target. Only someone like Romeo, it seems, could save her from this dreaded fate, but his story ended long ago. Or did it?
Praise for Juliet
“One of those rare novels that have it all . . . I was swept away”—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants
“Juliet leads us on a thrilling treasure hunt through present-day Italy that makes the classic tragedy itself spellbinding all over again.”—Elle
“Boldly imagined, brilliantly plotted, beautifully described, Juliet will carry you spellbound until the gripping end.”—Susan Vreeland, author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany
“The Shakespearean scholarship on display is both impressive and well-handled.”—The Washington Post
Fortier bobs and weaves between Shakespearean tragedy and popular romance for a high-flying debut in which American Julie Jacobs travels to Siena in search of her Italian heritage and possibly an inheritance only to discover she is descended from 14th-century Giulietta Tomei, whose love for Romeo defied their feuding families and inspired Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Julie's hunt leads her to the families' descendants, still living in Siena, still feuding, and still struggling under the curse of the friar who wished a plague on both their houses. Julie's unraveling of the past is assisted by a Felliniesque contessa and the contessa's handsome nephew, and complicated by mobsters, police, and a mysterious motorcyclist. To understand what happened centuries ago, in the previous generation, and all around her, Julie relies on relics: a painting, a journal, a dagger, a ring. Readers enjoy the additional benefit of antique texts alternating with contemporary narratives, written in the language of modern romance and enlivened by brisk storytelling. Fortier navigates around false clues and twists, resulting in a dense, heavily plotted love story that reads like a Da Vinci Code for the smart modern woman.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Slow start, wonderful ending
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Anne really did a great job with the historical part of the book and trying to tie it with present day. However, Juliet's and Romeo's characters seemed a little under developed in the beginning, especially Romeo. The development of their relationship also seemed to be underdeveloped in the beginning and then rushed towards the end. There were parts that I didn't know if they were kind of attracted to each other or kind of like each other or hate each other. Then the story jumped to them being madly in love with each other, but I certainly did not get that impression from my reading.
Loved it! Researched to the T, but still written like a great mystery novel.
I could hardly put this book down. When I wasn't reading it, it occupied my waking thoughts and my dreams. This book has it all and so well written!